What is it about new beginnings that gets people all stirred up? We’re not sure, but we’re definitely feeling the excitement as we launched our shiny, new 2009-2010 QUEST Science Education Institute on Saturday, May 30 at the Oakland Zoo.
For those of you who just tuned in, the QUEST Science Education Institute is KQED Education Network’s year-long professional development program for Bay Area school districts. The QUEST Institute was created to provide an accessible, hands-on approach to understanding new media and technology and how it can be used in classroom teaching. Over the course of the year-long Institute, we work with teams of science educators and educational technologists from school districts to provide training and resources on using QUEST multimedia to enhance science education. The Institute is part of our commitment to enhancing 21st century skills in the science classroom and enables us to work directly with Bay Area school districts to support learning plans and align our resources with district technology integration goals.
Of course, none of these lofty goals could be achieved without a corresponding amount of enthusiasm and commitment from the Institute participants. This year’s participating teams come from the Acalanes UHSD, Antioch USD, San Ramon Valley USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and Fairfield-Suisun USD. Over the course of the next year, they will be attending workshops on technology tools and resources such as Google Maps, podcasts, and Flickr. The teams will also have the opportunity to design a media and technology implementation plan that works for their district and receive ongoing support with implementing their plans.
This year’s participants begin the Institute with a keen awareness of the pervasiveness of technology and the need to connect with students in new and surprising ways. As learners change the way they receive information, they must learn to communicate what they have learned more effectively in order to succeed. As QUEST Series Producer, Amy Miller, a guest speaker at the launch event described it, “We find ourselves confronted with scientific and technological changes every day, and, as media professionals, we struggle to make sense of it and present it to our audience in relevant ways. Science teachers, therefore, have a pivotal role to play in nurturing future scientists who understand the importance of communicating with audiences both within and outside their field – a skill that is just as important in the scientific profession as in any other.”